Five questions to: Rodrigo Padilla, Ecuador

rodrigopadillaTICAL2015 is fast approaching and in our series "Five questions to" we follow talking about the conference with those who were prominent assistants in the previous editions of the event. The interviewed of the week is the ecuadorian Rodrigo Padilla, who participated in all four editions of TICAL. Systems Engineer at the University of Cuenca, Padilla will also participate in 2015 and tells us a little about his experiences in the past versions and about your expectations for the edition to be held in July, in Viña del Mar, Chile

Hello, Rodrigo. Tell us a little about you and your formation.

Hello! I am a Systems Engineer, with a postgraduate degree in IT Management, Education and University Management. For 20 years I have been working on ICT management for universities in Ecuador. I worked eleven years in the Salesian Polytechnic University, a private university that has offices in several cities across the country. For nine years I’m working at the University of Cuenca, a public university that gives great emphasis to the research. These two experiences have allowed me to be part of many processes experienced by the universities in our country, many of which were based on the use of ICT.

What was your first contact with the advanced networks and how do you evaluate its development since then?

At the University of Cuenca I was delegated by the Rector to represent the institution in the directory of CEDIA (Ecuadorian Consortium for Advanced Internet Development), in 2007. Since then, I am very interested in the strengthening of a network that supports research in the country. CEDIA was not only a technical network of high-speed Internet, but also a collaborative network in which we participate in experiences and joint projects.

To name a few examples, in Ecuador, CEDIA has, for several years, a single Internet contract with the ISP to supply the institutions that are members of the Consortium. This gives us an economy of scale to keep better prices and new services. Other examples are the CEPRA and CECIRA programs, which are funding programs for research and training projects, respectively, and which are also part of CEDIA. These funds are based on the use of the advanced network and on the collaboration between various institutions, that are prerequisites for the approval of projects.

In short, in the last years CEDIA maintained a significant development both in its services and in its internal organization, being, today, an important pillar for the development of the scientific research in the universities and research institutions of Ecuador. At the regional level, CEDIA was part of large collaborative projects, and in some of them was an example of collaboration and participation.

In a context like this, what is the importance of TICAL for the development of the networks and the professionals in the field of ICT?

TICAL began its activities aiming to enhance the sharing of experiences and collaboration. In recent years, the Conference has grown in participation. In 2014, more than 500 professionals met to share and discuss issues related to the ICT in the universities.

These technologies need to be used in a better way, in order to be important assets in education and research. The collaborative use of resources, the optimization of costs and the integration of ICT in the management of universities will lead to the strengthening of research; this is where TICAL facilitates the development of these initiatives. The presentation of projects developed in several universities in Latin America and in the world that are attending the conference may serve to initiate collaborative processes and to quickly improve the ICT in our institutions. On the other hand, the joint participation with providers of technologic products and services facilitate the exchange of ideas directly with these large distributors.

For the ICT professionals, TICAL is a space to learn from other experiences and create new bonds with people related to this context. The event will allow us to acquire new ideas to facilitate the integration of ICT in the management of institutions.

You participated in all four editions of TICAL. What lessons did you take from these different experiences?

In 2011, when the Conference was launched in Santiago, there was great expectation by part of a small group of ICT professionals from various universities; group of which I had the opportunity to take part. The TICAL that year was held in Panama City, where there was a significant participation. The expectation that group has spread and is now felt by many people related to the use of ICT in Latin American universities. That year, I learned that initiatives such as TICAL, with clear and ambitious purposes, can be achieved. On the other hand, I could see that the problems that the universities in our region are facing in the field of ICT are very similar.

The TICAL2012 was held in Lima and the subject of Government and Governance of ICT has generated great interest. We talked about products or services that can be implemented in universities, but also about the need to implement an ICT management model to carry out the interinstitutional objectives of the universities. I can also point out the participation of several rectors who discussed precisely about the management of ICT in universities.

In 2013, the event, held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, gained more strength with the participation of over 400 participants from all over Latin America and other countries of North America and Europe. I point out the cooperation between the various institutions for the development of projects and the interest and participation of the distributors of products and ICT services. The panel discussion that included the participation of several companies in the sector was also important because it allowed us to analyze the trends of the area and the points of view of each of the exhibitors.

Finally, in 2014, in Cancun, TICAL had an impressive participation. A total of 40 works of excellent quality were chosen from over 150 papers submitted for presentation. In TICAL2014 we had a demonstration of the potential for collaboration and for the continuation of the sharing of experiences developed in the universities.

Personally and professionally, what are your expectations for TICAL2015? And why Ecuadorians should participate?

In a "mutant" context like ours, with the evolution of ICT, the dynamism of the universities and of the countries in Latin America and in the world, as well as the increasing possibilities of telecommunications and collaboration, the use of ICT is necessary as the basis for quickly achieve the goals of the universities. Thus, TICAL2015, to be held in the beautiful city of Viña del Mar, should consolidate the collaborative spaces to the creation of interinstitutional projects that save time and resources of the universities.

On the other hand, the creation and management of large repositories of information (Big Data) that allows us to have accurate and timely information, to analyze trends and facilitate the taken of decisions by the directors of the institutions, is an issue that should be reviewed at the Conference .

The ICT Ecuadorian professionals should be present in TICAL2015 to be part of the global debate about ICT in the universities, to hear in first-hand what the universities are doing through selected presentations, and to provide and be part of collaborative networks that can widen their vision of solutions that should be implemented in their organizations.

TICAL2015 call for papers received 171 papers


The proposals are currently being evaluated by the Program Committee and on May 18th the selected authors will be notify and they will receive support from RedCLARA to participate in the Conference.


During the call for papers, open since November 19, 2014 until April 25th, 2015, a total of 171 proposals were received from actors involved in the management of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) of the universities and research institutions from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, USA, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela.

As in previous editions, this year RedCLARA will pay the cost of airfare of those authors whose works are chosen to be part of the conference program. In the case that a work has more than one author, they should choose a representative who will receive the benefit. The benefit will cover the cost of airfare and the author will cover the cost of registration and cost stay (food, lodging and local transportation).


Eduardo Grizendi: “We are preparing ourselves to bring a record number of Brazilians to the 2015 edition of TICAL”

Eduardo GrizendiThe Director of the Directorate of Engineering and Operations of the Brazilian academic network, RNP, Eduardo Grizendi spoke with DeCLARA about the challenges faced by the “verde-amarela” network in recent years, the future challenges and, of course, his vision of the TICAL Conference.


How the integration of RNP with other Latin American networks is helping the growth of the Brazilian network? Can you give us an example?

One thing leads to another. Several actions of RedCLARA, including the ALICE2 and ELCIRA, leveraged our infrastructure and our services to meet demands in communication and collaboration in order to attend our internal institutions and also outside Brazil, the other Latin American networks. The existing direct connection with RedCLARA, for example, enables brazilian researchers and students to have more capacity to collaborate internationally, enriching their studies and projects. In addition, the collaboration with the Latin American networks provides a greater exchange of experiences and opportunities to work together, because addresses more easily the problems that are more common among us.

The BELLA Project should be even more structuring for all our Latin American networks, bringing greater balance to our communication and external collaboration, connecting us directly to Europe. Recently, through a collaboration agreement, we transferred the model and the methodology of our Superior School of Networks, training arm of RNP, to RENATA, the Colombian academic network. CEDIA, from Ecuador, has also expressed interest and should be the next to implement the school. Our goal is to extend this action to a wider collaboration with other Latin American networks in, where all their partners will be able to share, enhance and evolve to all the improvements in methodology and more content of the material of this school, turning it into a Latin American Network School.

RNP is, undoubtedly, very important for the development of the entire advanced networks Latin American community. In which areas you think it can contribute to help even more this process of evolution?

We can contribute in many points, especially in the areas of training and connectivity already mentioned, in addition to telemedicine and services. In particular on telemedicine, the Telemedicine University Network of RNP, also known as RUTE, received in 2012 the qualification of best practice in telemedicine in Latin America and the Caribbean, given by the Inter-American 20 21 Development Bank (IDB), the Pan-American Health Organization and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Since then, RUTE has served as an example of innovation in scientific collaborative networking, deployment of telemedicine centers and telehealth, remote assistance, continued education, scientific practice and production in this area, and integration between health professionals and academics in all regions of the country.

The worldwide recognition of the actions of RUTE and the success achieved through the work that was done also contributed to the launch, in 2010, of the project “Telehealth Public Policies in Latin America TTP-LA”, financed by the IDB. Its aims were to consolidate the national telehealth programs in the Latin American countries and to establish a strategy for the creation of integrated networks of teaching and research on telehealth issues in Latin America, from the integration of existing advanced academic networks, health communities, ministries of health, education, science, technology and innovation, allowing the promotion, prevention and provision of telehealth services. The joint effort is carried out in order to make these services more efficient, to reduce costs and increase the quality of telehealth in the region, especially in places of hard access.

In Brazil, the project is coordinated by RUTE/RNP and by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). The project also has representatives from the Ministries of Health of the following countries: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay, El Salvador, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bolivia, Panama and Guyana. RedCLARA and the academic networks RENATA (Colombia), CEDIA (Ecuador), CUDI (Mexico) and RNP (Brazil) are part of the project too.

Some institutions in Latin America also collaborate and participate in the sessions - monthly, scientific and practical - of the Special Interest Groups (SIGs), which are held by RUTE as a collaborative activity with their members. In at least eight SIGs, there was participation of health professionals and academics from Venezuela, Mexico and Ecuador. In the area of services, we were responsible for two ELCIRA work packages, funded by the European Commission, which aimed to help the execution of collaborative projects between researchers in Latin America and Europe.

Thus, we expanded the use of eduroam in Latin America, which currently accounts more than 1200 access points distributed in several countries such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru, as well as Brazil. We also encouraged the creation of identity federations in the region. As a result, Colombia and Ecuador launched their federations, Colfire and Minga, the Argentine (MATE) is in final stage to become a member of eduGAIN and the chilean (COFRE) has completed its accession process. Another three are in their pilot phase: Peru (Inca Federation), Uruguay (RAUid) and Mexico (Fenix).

In this context, how important is the Conference for the brazilians and how are they preparing for this edition?

TICAL is a very important meeting point to all the Latin American academic networks, because it is where we share experiences, best practices, know initiatives of other networks and open fronts to new opportunities for collaboration. I lost the last edition and felt bad about it. Before it, I participated in all other editions since I entered RNP. But I committed to myself to not miss it again.

It's a conference of ourselves to ourselves, where we realize that our problems are common and that a solution found by an academic network several times serves better to another, when both are Latin American. We are preparing ourselves to take a record number of Brazilians this year. We involved our communications area since the beginning of the preparations and we are now involving our department of institutional relationship in order to better disseminate and promote the participation of Brazilian researchers and students. The opportunity to know the cities where the event is carried out is very interesting too.

The Conference will reach its fifth edition. How do you evaluate its growth since its first edition?

My evaluation is that TICAL is doing well, with a great growth potential, as far as we “latinizate” ourselves. There are thematic areas to be explored and there is a great potential to increase the partners and event sponsorships.

Personally, what are your expectations for TICAL2015?

To participate, take more Brazilians, learn from all participants, contribute and share our actions and projects, enjoy and meet friends from other academic networks.

Finally, what everybody wants to know: when we’ll have TICAL in Brazil? Are there negotiations to take the conference to your country?

We are working to bring it to Brazil next year, so we could have TICAL2016 here. Though there is just one thing that is scaring us: the fact that the Olympics will be held in the Brazil in 2016 too, and in the same period of TICAL. Maybe that complicates things a bit. But our will is to hold the event here, if not in 2016, in 2017.

Get to know the TICAL2015 speaker Andrés Holguín, from Colombia

327E0C13-8282-484C-9959-A067C01B3AE4Not only from Europe and the United States will come the international speakers who will give life to the plenary sessions of TICAL2015. After the portuguese Eloy Rodrigues and the american Susan Grajek, we present the south american representative of our group of guests. He is Andrés Holguín, from Colombia.

Since 2006 Andrés Holguín is the coordinator of Technological Research, Innovation and Information Security at the Directorate of Services of Information and Technology (DSIT) of the University of the Andes, in Colombia, where he works since 2002. In this position, he is responsible for the Information Security. He is also responsible for advanced computing services for research and innovation.

Holguín is a Systems and Computing Engineer at the University of the Andes and has certifications in Information Security of ISCA CISM and SANS GCED.

Alongside with him in TICAL2015 will also be Manuel Moreno, from Mexico, and Hans Pongratz, from Germany, as well as Grajek and Rodriguez, early presented in this session. The TICAL2015 Conference will be held between July 6th and 8th of 2015, in Viña Del Mar, Chile.


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